IN-DEPTH: Veuve Ambal

Veuve Ambal near Beaune

Veuve Ambal, one of Burgundy's most established wine producers, been around since 1898. Nowadays it is one of the largest producers of crémant in the region, with over 280 hectares of vines spread over 6 estates.

Crémant (aka. bubbly) is the specialty of Veuve. It’s is a group of sparkling wines made with the same technique as champagne but not actually from the Champagne region (only the stuff from Champagne can be labelled as such). And as with most wines in Burgundy the grapes you’ll find here will be chardonnay and pinot noir, with perhaps some gamay or aligoté thrown in for good measure.

Veuve Ambal is near Beaune so about 40 minutes south of Dijon. As you head down the A6 you’ll be unlikely to miss the angular red building or adjacent name-stamped gold cylinder. Entering the modern building, in it’s well kept surrounds, and you get the sense that this is an impressive operation (and it is). 

Veuve Ambal factory

Veuve Ambal factory

The self-guided audio tour is interesting for both adults and children, with visitors able to view the ageing cellars, workshops, robots and automatons that produce their 'traditional method' sparkling wine. The combined tour and tasting takes about 1 hour and the price is a reasonable 9€ for adults.

Veuve Ambal shop

However when The Pinot Front Row visited (accompanied by his parents and wife) time didn’t permit the full tour, so we had to make do with just the tasting. It wasn’t busy when we arrived, perhaps something to do with it being before lunch on a Sunday. And the young lady on duty was happy to have us and most obliging in offering the full range of crémants for our tasting. In most places the full range can mean maybe 3 to 5 wines, though not here. Being the big player that they are there’s upwards of 20 crémants on offer. And this being The Pinot Front Row, all of them were thoroughly sampled. And all in a relaxed setting, in English, and with no pushiness to move on or to buy anything. Inevitably though with 20 tastings of crémant under the belt buying a case or two becomes a bit more likely, and indeed we left with just that.

For those less keen on pre-lunch Sunday bubbly tastings, the shop also had a good range of products from Burgundy and a dedicated children’s area to occupy the little ones while the crémant occupies mum and dad.

All in all The Pinot Front Row highly recommends a visit to Veuve Ambal if you’re in Burgundy during the Rugby World Cup.

Yours in rugby,

The Pinot Front Row

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